from the Korean Army to being published

the blog of an "ex-patriot" writer in Korea

Random #73: Easily Distracted

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I’m not much of a closer. The deck on my balcony needs to be re-stained and the screws need to be replaced. A couple of the bolts on my bike need to be drilled out and replaced and parts of the frame need to be treated for rust. Several art projects are still just ideas swimming around in my head but never put down on paper. Numerous blog entries are half-written on my computer. I have the numbers of a couple of girls who I can’t be bothered to contact despite finding them more than mildly attractive.

I have a tendency to be somewhat of a perfectionist, obsessing over the smallest detail and spending hours and days and weeks on a single project, but I have an equal tendency to suddenly abandon the same project and never to revisit it. There’s a word in Korean that’s absent in English that can properly describe how I am most of the time, daechungjueui, which means that I’m guided by the principle of doing things just adequately enough, as in, “Eh. That’s good enough.”

Much of it is due to sloth. My room is a pigsty. I throw garbage in the general vicinity of the trashcan, even if I happen to be standing next to it. I can’t figure out why I can’t take the extra five seconds to hang up a jacket instead of tossing it on the ground right next to my dresser. My room would never be clean if there weren’t occasions where I thought there was a remote possibility of bringing a girl back to my place. More than a few flings have felt the need to clean my room and even my bathroom while I was deep in post-coital slumber.

The rest of it is due to distraction. I’m absentminded and forgetful, debilitatingly so. I can think of something that I need to do all day long, but an errant thought can block out the thought completely. I can set an alarm on my phone and write notes on my hand and still not remember until it’s too late. I can focus really well but only on one thing at a time, and the moment something new pops into my head, all of my attention moves over to that new thing.

I think that this forgetfulness is a defense mechanism. If I had a better memory, I’d probably be completely incapacitated, mired in depression and regret over a lifetime of waste and horridly stupid mistakes. The fact that I’ve been working on this book for so many years can be attributed to this fault of mine but is also a testament to how bad I want this. Remembering events that happened now ten years ago in detail is painstaking and time-consuming, and I’m constantly struggling for the right words. I know they exist but they haven’t been on the tip of my tongue for years.

That being said, I’ve finally finished the revisions on my first six chapters that I’ve been struggling with since the accident. Now I just need to push myself a little longer to start and get through the agent search once again.


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